1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mapping occupation, skills needs and training content
1. Accessible tourism training should take into account the context of training, the
trainee's prior qualifications, knowledge and experience, the level of the training to be
delivered and visitors' specific access requirements.
2. If a visitor experience is to be truly accessible then all elements of the supply chain or
customer journey must be accessible. As a result, a person's place in the tourism
value chain is less important for determining skills and training needs than the role that
this person fulfils in the business.
3. Thus, skills needs and training provision must differentiate between different skills
levels (basic, in-depth) and different occupational roles (Managers with / without
customer contact, frontline staff, others (including technical specialists).
4. Training content and learning outcomes should include Knowledge of disabilities /
types of disability and access requirements, Barriers to accessibility & Design for All,
Strategic development of accessibility in business, Principles of effective customer
service, Proper etiquette for dealing with PwD, Recognising and responding
appropriately to people using personal supports and Service animals and assistive
5. There are wide differences in accessible tourism content in mainstream tourism and
hospitality training curricula across the EU.
6. On the whole, the level of awareness and qualifications of tourism services providers
is inadequate to address the needs of people with disabilities. There is an urgent need
to promote an understanding of accessibility before it is possible to persuade
businesses to take up training.
7. Existing training is overwhelmingly directed towards continuing vocational educational
training (VET). Current training provisions are often provided on a non-permanent
basis or reach too few individuals to have an effective impact on the accessible
8. Overall, NGOs are the most active organisations delivering accessibility training for
tourism organisations, tourism boards or businesses in order to feed in the sector
9. The standard methods of delivering formal training are online and traditional
classroom-based training. Some training providers1 have developed "blended-learning
programme" or "b-learning". Direct involvement with people with disabilities during
training has the greatest level of impact and duration. However, it is also indirectly
mentioned as a barrier for businesses to take up the training.
10. A majority of courses are directed to frontline staff. However, there is a recognition that
it is important to reach managers for the training to have a more long-lasting impact.
11. Most training introduces introductory-level skills as business conditions often require a
fast delivery of training which is focused on giving results in the daily work of every
12. Motor and sensory impairments rank among the accessibility requirements most often
addressed in the training.
Existing demand for accessible tourism training
13. SMEs in the tourism sector make less use of formal training than large enterprises -
whether for managers or staff - due to limited financial resources, limited time and
difficulties in accessing training courses locally. Informal training and "on the-job"
experiences are important tools to enhance staff skills among SMEs.
14. Thus, training should not be limited to structured and top-down approaches to learning
and may take the form of "awareness raising" which is less formal and has broader
appeal to SMEs.
15. While a number of certificates in accessibility training exist across Europe, these do
not give academic credits and most qualifications are not recognised in the wider
16. In several Member States there is growing awareness of the importance of the
accessibility market. Awareness may be influenced by government anti-discrimination
policies or accessibility may be adopted is part of the strategic development of a
country's or region's tourism products. The maturity of a tourism destination does not
seem to have any bearing on the availability of courses or the uptake of accessibility.
Gaps in training provision and the role of EU projects
17. Key gaps in the existing training landscape include a gap in the actual
availability/provision of training, a gap in the development of the business case for
training and a gap in evaluating the impact of training on customers, staff and
18. The role of EU-projects to remedy the gap in the availability of accessible tourism
training has so far been rather limited. EU funded projects have focused on
establishing a basic understanding about the target of training initiatives, the main
actors who need to be trained (management, staff and different occupational roles)
and appropriate training tools, methods and curricula. The main achievement of most
of these projects lies in the awareness raised among the participants and the relevant
19. At the same time, EU projects so far have suffered from low transferability and weak
dissemination. Accordingly their efforts have not been exploited in a coordinated way.
The widespread lack of continuity or uptake of training suggests some projects were
not sufficiently embedded in the tourism sector at an institutional level. Many of these
EU funded projects were pilot projects with very few participants.
Drivers of supply/demand for training
20. Key factors that influence the supply of training provisions are tourism policy and
legislation. In those Member States where accessibility has a strategic role in the
development of tourism products there seem to be a higher number of available
training courses. Legislation seem to encourage the proliferation of training courses
(as well as uptake), at least where this legislation is being properly enforced.
21. The greatest barrier to training is the lack of awareness of accessibility and the lack of
a convincing business case for accessibility training. Tourism businesses have little
incentive to engage in training for accessibility when this is a poorly understood
market. The challenge seems to consist in making a convincing business case for
training, structuring the market (demand and supply) for training and spreading
awareness of successful business practices by peers.
22. A top-down process of awareness for accessibility seems to favour provision of
training courses. Business and trade associations must be fully integrated in efforts to
develop an accessible tourism business case.
23. Key actors within organisations such as tourism boards, but also individual businesses
or service providers can act as "champions", actively promoting training as an integral
part of accessibility strategies.
24. There is a strong case for a recognised European certificate in the area of Accessible
Tourism. The field is still sufficiently "young" for such a transferable qualification to be
developed, yet without one, different national variations may appear, which could
entail difficulties in the coming years regarding mutual recognition in different EU
25. Development of such a standard would help address both supply side barriers (by
providing a structure to the market for accessible training provision) and some of the
demand side challenges (by defining accessible tourism skills as a transferrable and
26. The standard would not require the design of specialised accessible tourism training
modules. Rather, the required skills (as defined in section 3 of his report) could be
integrated into existing tourism qualification. This would certainly be the case for the
basic skills per occupational group defined in section 3 with more in-depth training
being provided in separate modules focused exclusively on accessible tourism
27. A full list of recommendations is presented in section 7 of the full report which is at: